Charities see drop in end of the year donations

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Before it gets to the check out counter, before it gets to the clothing racks, before it even gets a price tag on it. It gets donated. Especially at the end of the year.

"It's one of our largest donation days of the year," Edward Lada said, the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas. "We're really excited."

The drive-thru donation line kept more than a dozen cars in it for most of Sunday.

Dan Euston donated some furniture.

"We had a lot of stuff in the house that we don't need," he said, "and other people could use it."

Erv Retzlaff and his dog Meatball waited in line for about 15 minutes. "We're donating some of our unused equipment," Retzlaff said as he accepted the donation receipt.

"We're cleaning out things from 20 years in a house."

Nicole Smith was a few cars behind him. "We clean our closets at the end of the year," she said, "and I'm giving away shoes."

For many charities, the last week of the year brings hundreds of cars and thousands of donations. But with last year's increase in the standard deduction, those who depend on donations have seen a drop.

"We feel that this is the first impact of that particular tax law," Lada said.

Compared to last year, Goodwill Industries of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas tallied a 20% decrease in donations this week - their traditionally busiest.

"We think we'll probably feel it even moreso next year," Lada explained. "When people go to file their taxes in 2018 and realize 'Aw, we may not need the receipt as much as we once did.'"

So that once-precious receipt may now not be as necessary. But the spirit of charity, like most donations, is always accepted.

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